Marine Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, tapped by President Obama to become his fifth commander of the war in Afghanistan, will take charge in Kabul early next year, Pentagon officials said Tuesday.
Dunford, currently the assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, was confirmed for his new post by the Senate in a voice vote Monday night. As the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, he will succeed another Marine, Gen. John R. Allen, whose future is in flux because of a pending investigation into his “potentially inappropriate” communications with a Tampa woman.
U.S. officials said Allen’s travails are unlikely to force the Pentagon to accelerate its original plan for Dunford to assume command in February. They said that U.S., NATO and Afghan officials are trying to finalize a date for a change-of-command ceremony in Kabul, but that they expected Allen to remain in the job several more weeks.
The Pentagon’s investigation into Allen’s relationship with Jill Kelley, a Florida woman who befriended several generals and admirals at the U.S. Central Command headquarters in Tampa, has come at a particularly awkward moment for the military.